New Chair and Two New Members Appointed to the Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel



Helen Pitcher has been appointed as the new lay Chair of the Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel, replacing Professor Dame Joan Higgins DBE. The Panel considers applicants for the award of Queen’s Counsel, which is given to those who demonstrate excellence in advocacy in the higher courts following an objective assessment.

The Selection Panel is independent of the legal professional bodies and of Government, and includes lay members, as well as barristers and solicitors. In addition, a new retired judicial member and a new barrister member have been appointed to the Panel: Sir Anthony May until 2011 President of the Queen’s Bench Division and Frances Oldham QC, formerly Head of Chambers at 36 Bedford Row, and a Deputy High Court Judge (Family Division).

Commenting on the appointment of Helen Pitcher, Oliver Delany and Desmond Hudson, the Directors of Queens Counsel Appointments Ltd, said:

“Helen Pitcher has been a lay member of the Panel since 2009, and this has given her a thorough understanding of the role and the value of Queen’s Counsel and of the work of the Panel. We are delighted that she will now be able to lead the work of the Panel. We congratulate Helen on her appointment and feel sure that her experience will ensure
continuation of the excellent work carried out by Professor Dame Joan Higgins, the outgoing Chair, over the past six years.

We are extremely grateful to Joan Higgins for her very considerable contribution to the work of Panel since the new arrangements were put in place in 2005. We wish her well for the future.”

Delany and Hudson added:
‘We are also delighted to welcome two new members to the QC Appointments Selection Panel. Sir Anthony May and Frances Oldham QC are both distinguished lawyers in their fields and will bring considerable knowledge and skills which will strengthen the QC appointments process.

We also pay tribute to their predecessors, Sir David Keene and Jean Ritchie QC, who are now standing down from the Selection Panel at the end of their terms of office.’

Notes to editors
1. For further information please contact the QC Appointments Secretariat on 0207 831 0020.
2. The members of the Selection Panel for the 2012-13 competition will be: • Helen Pitcher (Chair – appointed 2012, appointed lay Panel member 2009)
• Sir Colin Budd KCMG (lay member – appointed 2009)
• Lord (Alex) Carlile of Berriew CBE QC (senior barrister member – appointed 2009)
• Sir Alistair Graham (lay member – appointed 2011)
• Felicity Huston (lay member – appointed 2011)
• Linda Lee (senior solicitor member – appointed 2011)
• Sir Anthony May (retired senior judicial member – appointed 2012)
• Frances Oldham QC (senior barrister member – appointed 2012)
• Razi Shah (senior solicitor member – appointed 2009)

3. It is expected that the new Queen’s Counsel appointments as a result of the current round of applications will be announced by the Ministry of Justice on 29th February 2012.
4. Professor Dame Joan Higgins is standing down as Chair of the Selection Panel at the end of her 3 year appointment as Chair. She has been a lay member of the Panel since its inception in 2005. In addition, Sir David Keene is standing down after two years on the Selection Panel and Jean Ritchie QC is retiring at the end of a 5-
year term. Helen Pitcher
5. A qualified psychometrician, Helen Pitcher was Chief Executive of Cedar TM Ltd (a specialist Human Resource Consultancy) from 1990 – 2008, when it was bought by the Savile Group PLC., of which she is a Director. She has been the Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of IDDAS (which provides experience-based mentoring and coaching for senior executives) since 2008. She was formerly a lay representative on the PCC of the Bar Council, until 2005.

Sir Anthony May
6. Sir Anthony May joined Keating Chambers in 1968 after teaching classics. He took Silk in 1979 and was appointed to the High Court Bench in 1991 and to the Court of Appeal in 1997, becoming Deputy Head of Civil Justice and responsible for the Civil Procedure Rules. In 2008, he became President of the Queen’s Bench Division, and retired in 2011.

Frances Oldham QC
7. Frances Oldham QC was Head of Chambers at 36 Bedford Row, London, for 8 years until 2011. She is a Deputy High Court Judge (Family Division), Crown Court Recorder and a Bencher at Gray’s Inn. Former Leader of the Midland Circuit 2002- 2005. She is regularly instructed in high profile cases in Family Law and in serious crime.